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Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

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On the other hand, a reduction in number of births will affect the need for health and welfare services for both children and mothers. The need for high-quality protein foods to save the lives and ensure the mental and physical development of children, and to protect the health of pregnant and lactating women, will decrease with the birth rate. And pressures for illegal and dangerous abortions will diminish with the successful dissemination of other means of fertility control.
At the micro-level of the family and the village, the effect of a prevented birth will be immediate in terms of smaller family size and a lower dependency burden, with the accompanying economic and health benefits for the welfare of living children and mothers, and the possibility of increased savings and investment by the family for its own future welfare. But the pressures of increased numbers of families on the size of farms, and on young men to leave the village in search of a livelihood, will not diminish until the smaller numbers of children become adults.
Goals of Fertility Control Policies
Developed and less developed countries can be differentiated almost as well by their birth rates, proportions of children, and rates of population growth as by per capita income and other socioeconomic measures. In all developed countries there are less than 20-25 live births per 1,000 people per year, and rates of natural population increase (the difference between birth rates and death rates) are usually lower than 15 per 1,000 per year, which means that the times required for the population to double in size are about 50 years or more. Nearly all less developed countries have birth rates higher than 30 per 1,000, and rates of natural increase higher than 20 per 1,000, with doubling times of less than 35 years.
The principal objective of national fertility control policies in less developed countries is to facilitate economic and social development. It appears reasonable, therefore, to select as the goal of these policies a reduction in fertility and rate of population growth within the next 2 decades to a level in the range of that in more developed economies.
We are unable to demonstrate quantitatively the extent to which such a marked reduction in fertility and rate of population growth would influence the rate of development. We are certain only that in all developed societies such a decline occurred during the course of their development. Birth rates in many present developed countries were relatively low even in the early stages of development, and the consequently low proportion of children to adults may have been an important factor in facilitating economic growth.
It is true that the decline in fertility in most of the now developed countries took place over a much longer time span than the 2 decades we have suggested, but the example of Japan, where birth rates decreased by nearly 50